Author: Narine, Shari
Date published: October 1, 2011
A special ceremony was held in Wabasca on Sept. 12 to celebrate the conclusion of a historic land claim settlement in northern Alberta and to mark a major turning point for Bigstone and Peerless Trout First Nations. A key part of the settlement was the creation of a new band for the communities of Peerless Lake and Trout Lake. Members of Peerless Trout First Nation were members of Bigstone Cree Nation, but historically considered themselves as separate and distinct from Bigstone. The Peerless Trout First Nation was officially constituted on May 19, 2010, with members voting for their chief and council in June 2010. The settlement resolves outstanding issues relating to treaty promises dating back to the late 1800s. It includes approximately $259 million and up to 140,000 acres of unoccupied provincial Crown land to become new reserve land for the First Nations. This figure also includes $59 million for renovations and construction of new infrastructure projects for the First Nations. Alberta's contribution includes $28 million and a commitment to construct two new elementary schools in Peerless Lake and Trout Lake, as well as water treatment plants for each of these communities.